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Hospitals Struggle to Find Available Beds As Omicron-Fueled COVID Cases Explode

Hospitals Struggle to Find Available Beds As Omicron-Fueled COVID Cases Explode

Hospitals across the country are struggling to cope with burnout among doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers already overwhelmed and exhausted by the constant crush of patients from the ongoing surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant. And despite the lack of resources and beds, hospital workers are now bracing for the fallout of the highly transmissible Omicron mutation.

Experts attribute most of the rise in cases and hospitalizations to infections among people who have not been inoculated against the coronavirus. The government says 61% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.

(Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Ohio became the latest state to summon the National Guard to help overwhelmed medical facilities. As of Friday, 4,723 people in the state were hospitalized with the coronavirus, a number last seen about a year ago, Gov. Mike DeWine said. Some staffers were taking only short breaks before punching in for second shifts, he added.

Experts in Nebraska warned that their hospitals soon may need to ration care. Medical officials in Kansas and Missouri are delaying surgeries, turning away transfers, and desperately trying to hire traveling nurses, as cases double and triple in an eerie reminder of last year’s holiday season, when no vaccines were yet widely available.

The AP reports that the national seven-day average of COVID-19 hospital admissions was 60,000 by Wednesday, which is much lower than last winter’s peak, but is still a 50% increase from early November, the government reported. The situation is more acute in cold-weather regions, where people are increasingly gathering inside and new infections are only rising.

New York state reported Friday that slightly more than 21,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19, a new high since tests became widely available. The consequences were swift in New York City: The Rockettes Christmas show was scratched for the season, and some Broadway shows canceled performances because of outbreaks among cast members.

 

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